Soviet Red Army Rifle and Motor Rifle Company, 1943
Table of Organisation & Equipment
Red Army infantry units were organized along similar lines as infantry of other nations. At the platoon, company, and battalion level, Soviet infantry used nearly the same basic organisation as German infantry. Light mortars had been attached at the company level initially, but they fell out of use, because the platoon received sufficient artillery and mortar support from higher echelons.
Red Army Rifle Company, 1943
Guards, Comsol, and other Soviet elite units replaced the Maxim MG with a 12.7 mm or 14.5 mm HMG. N.K.V.D. probably also had access to newer equipment. The D.P. LMG was usually replaced by the tank D.T. LMG, because it was lighter and had a foldable frame butt. Soviet tank LMGs had bipods fitted for dismounted operations.
There were only two 76.2 mm M.1912/M.1927 infantry guns attached at the battalion level, and they frequently performed anti-tank duties in addition to their direct support fire role. The battalion also had two 45 mm L.46 M.1938 or two 37 mm L.45 M.1935 anti-tank guns.
Motor rifle units did not have a weapons platoons at company level, these elite tankoviy desant troops relied on fire support from the tanks they rode into battle. Soviet tank riders suffered horrendous casualties from shattering shells if the tank they were on deflected a shot. KV riders are reported to have suffered more than T-34 riders, because the former had better armour and was not as easily penetrated. The individual motor rifle platoons were equipped with a much larger proportion of automatic weapons, a typical squad would consist of nine men with one LMG, five SMG, and only three Rifles.
The Soviet Army had flag signals detachments consisting of one NCO and three men. These units were stationed at key positions along the front, and all the way back to the company command post. The Wehrmacht soon learned to fire smoke shells into enemy formations to disrupt any communication by flag signals. BT and T-26 tank formations relied exclusively on flag and flare signals, the vehicles carried no radios.
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– Published: 1997 – Updated: 06.06.2007
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